I wanted to share with you some thoughts from “behind the scenes” from, what has been, one of the most heartbreaking and difficult times of ministry that I have known.

I have been really privileged to be part of a wonderful Church community in Clacton-on-Sea since the end of 2007. I have a great team of Deacons, some very committed volunteers and helpers and a Church family that I love dearly.

I find myself looking forward to Sunday services and our Deacons meetings, can only be described as a gathering of friends. On the Sundays when I am not here, I really miss the Church family.

I take the writer to the Hebrews seriously when he says;

And let us not neglect our meeting together

(Hebrews 10 vs. 25 – NLT)

Over the past couple weeks, the world that I know, and love, has changed. Coronavirus has turned my (and many others) world on its head.

I cannot recall anything, in my lifetime, that I can equate with Coronavirus. I remember bread shortages and the 3 day week (but, only just). I remember the summer of 1976 and seeing stand-pipes in the streets. This is something different for us in modern Britain. Something that, it seems, we are powerless to control.

In the early days there seemed to be a lack of information and direction. I can remember one politician saying that we should “wash our hands whilst singing the national anthem”. It seemed to me that they were not taking it seriously and so, I too could treat it with humour.

As more details have emerged, however, I appreciated that this is something that needs to be sensibly dealt with. Again, a lack of information from Government made my task impossible. I was being asked to make decisions based on zero knowledge.

This has all changed this week.

The Government announcement on Monday and subsequent clarifications meant that we, like many Churches, we have had to make the difficult decision to, temporarily, close our doors. This was the advice from the Government, and the national Church.

This really goes against the grain for me. I like the fact that our doors are open most days of the week because, I have always believed that, the Church should be at the heart of community open and available as a praying presence. I am also aware that the church supports members of our church family and the wider community. If the doors are closed, how can we do this?

As I have tried to come to terms with the implications, I am sure I am not the only minister who has had a few sleepless nights worrying. There have been times when I have felt so out of my depth and uttered overwhelmed by the decisions I have had to make and I am still making.

I have read comments from some ministers who say “exciting times ahead” ; “time to stop doing church and start being church” and so on. I confess I am not feeling excited – I am heartbroken.

I don’t dispute with the decisions that national Government and denominational leaders are making. Painful though they are, ultimately, I think they are right. I agree that people should self isolate and take sensible precautions so that this pandemic is controlled.

I believe the measures we have put in place locally, are the only ones we can in light of the situation. We are offering practical help to folk who find themselves in isolation.

In addition, we will be live streaming a, shortened, act of worship. If you would like to receive the links for this, please let us know on info@pieravenue.org.uk.

The Church building will be open from 10:30 – 11:30 on Sunday morning for private prayer only. We will, however, continue to monitor the given advice and local events as I am not sure if we will be able to continue to do this. There are ways that we can continue to support one another and keep in touch. Phone calls, messaging, and texts. I would urge you to keep in contact.

Despite all of this, I am looking forward to the day when our doors are open again and normal service is resumed.

I continue to hold our fellowship, community, nation and world in prayer.

10 thoughts on “Heart-broken

  1. Hi Sean, Here the church doors are always open 9-5 daily. On Sunday there will be candles to light and people can sit anywhere and just be quiet in prayer and meditation. A prayer card will be available. I am not sure how widespread this approach is? However, we will discover new ways of being the people of God in prayer and using the technology being with people and sharing the news of light in the darkness – our hope and peace.

  2. My own insight is metaphorical.

    I “presumed” everything. I presumed a continuance of my selfish, sinful, material life. I presumed I woukd live that way to the grave. After all, I was a ‘good person’

    Not until it was all taken away, every presumption of security in the things of this world, could I fall to my knees and beg forgiveness and truly repent. Not until then was I healed.

    I have embraced 2 Chronicles 7.14 as the foundational scripture for true, World shaking Revival.

    I see, in the Outreach I do a need for total and utter systemic change across society. Change such as happened to me.

    We are going thru a complete shaking. Only good comes out of shaking.

    Let us who are called by His name, seek His face.

    Praise God.

  3. Hi Sean
    I feel for you as I know how much you have your ppl in your heart. It is now more than ever we need to pray for our world. We take so much for granted and now more than ever prayer is the only battle against the devil who can reap havoc with ppl the more isolated they become.
    Bless you Sean

    1. Thank you Sean for reaching out to us. The virus will not stop our prayers Praise the Lord.
      God. Bless you and your family.

  4. Sean
    Many in you congegation are elderly or looking after the elderly. At this time they are very frightened especially those who live alone. Many also do not know how to use the internet to keep in touch.

    There are also the people who are afraid they will lose their jobs and not have enough to pay rent or buy food.

    It is very difficult to reassure these. I wish I had the answers!

  5. Thank you Sean for your words and thoughts at this challenging time.
    And thanks to those responses above. My ‘go to’ text is Joshua ch.1 v 9 ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go’.

  6. Hi Rev.Sean, the pandemic crisis is indeed crushing our hearts. In God we will put our faith to have this pass over us all. Amen Thank you for this piece, it does bring warmth.

  7. Although we may not be able to hold a meeting we can all still pray for revival in our nation – more than ever before. Adversity should bring out the best in us. I am trusting in my Heavenly Father who has promised to love and care for me even to the end of the world.

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